The Flash movie has problems. When Warner Brothers announced its full lineup of movies post-Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, including The Flash seemed like a no-brainer. With the character set to be a major part of Justice League (2017), and the fact that general audiences are already fairly familiar with the character, it made sense to set aside a release date for a solo Flash movie.
Since then, however, things have gone downhill for the scarlet speedster. While WB is set to release both Wonder Woman and Justice League in 2017, and has begun production on Aquaman (2018), there’s been nothing but trouble reported for The Flash. In fact, things have gone so wrong that the movie no longer has a release date. Considering that it was first announced in 2013 and given a release date of 2018, Warner Brothers had plenty of time to get things worked out. Meanwhile, Warner Brothers has announced several additions to its lineup, including sequels to existing movies (like Suicide Squad 2) and new entries (like Batgirl.) Clearly, there isn’t a problem with the studio, just with this one particular franchise. As cool as the Flash is, it’s time for the WB to realize that it’s over and they need to just give up on making a Flash movie.
15. REVOLVING DOOR OF DIRECTORS
The Flash was originally announced in July 2013 and was eventually given a release date of March, 2018. Then it was announced that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were writing a treatment, and were rumored to be in line for the director’s chair. Seth Grahame-Smith was then officially brought on as writer and director of the project in October, 2015. Unfortunately, Grahame-Smith left the project due to creative differences in April, 2016.
Rick Famuyiwa then stepped into the director’s chair, only to leave the project, once again due to creative differences. The film was then placed on hold while WB tries to find a director for it. Most recently, Sam Raimi, Robert Zemeckis and Matthew Vaughn have all been rumored, but none have officially signed on. Whatever is going on behind the scenes, it seems like nobody wants to actually follow through with whatever DC has planned.
14. A HISTORY OF TROUBLE
While the DC Extended Universe has definitely been financially successful, it hasn’t been without drama. Batman V Superman was originally scheduled to be released in July, 2015, but then had the release delayed almost a full year before finally settling on March, 2016. There were rumors that the film had to be restructured to focus more on Ben Affleck’s Batman, although those stories were denied by the WB.
Suicide Squad went through extensive reshoots, which were rumored to be based on negative reaction to Batman V Superman. The final product was criticized for feeling disjointed, and the blame was placed on the reshoots. Justice League (2017) has also been plagued with similar rumors. Basically, the WB has a bad history with troubled productions on DC movies. Considering how many issues they’ve already had with Flash, it’s time to learn from the past on let it go.
13. THAT TV SHOW
In 2014, The Flash premiered on the CW, spinning off from Arrow (2012), which is also based on a DC Comics property. Starring Grant Gustin, the show tells the story of Barry Allen, who becomes the Flash after receiving speed powers during a freak accident. Allen is driven by the murder of his mother, for which his father was wrongly convicted.
In Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), the cinematic version of Barry Allen was introduced in a cameo, and the character is set to make his first full appearance in Justice League (2017). This means that the same character is appearing in both of DC’s live action universes. While it’s not necessarily a problem, it does mean that if WB decides to skip Flash, it’s not like they’re depriving fans.
12. A FULL SLATE
Despite still being a fairly new franchise, the DC Extended Universe has a large number of upcoming movies already scheduled. After the release of Wonder Woman and Justice League in 2017, the studio already has movies scheduled based on Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg, and Green Lantern Corps, which all will keep the studio busy until the year 2020.
On top of that, there are also several films in various stages of preproduction, including ones starring Batman, Batgirl and Nightwing, along with sequels to Man of Steel (2013) and Suicide Squad (2016). Of course, sequels for Wonder Woman and Justice League are also being considered, based on the success of the first movies. There are even more movies rumored to be in the works, which means that if WB has to drop The Flash, it’s not like it’s going to be leaving a huge hole in the schedule.
11. TEAM-UP MOVIES ARE HOTTER
After The Avengers (2012), audiences expect their comic book movies to all be connected and for heroes to guest star in each other’s films. That’s why Marvel’s third phase of movies is so focused on “team up” themes. Captain America: Civil War (2016) had a cast as large as any Avengers movie, Thor: Ragnarok (2017) will co-star the Hulk and Dr Strange, and Iron Man will be a major part of Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).
Instead of trying to force a solo Flash movie into production, WB should instead look to where it can fit the character into other movies. The model for superhero movies has changed, and WB has so far done a great job with recognizing that. This isn’t to say that they need to make Flash V Aquaman: Dawn of Splash Fights, but instead they should focus on crossing characters over as much as possible.
10. DON’T COMMIT TO THIS FLASH
Like many of DC’s heroes, there are multiple versions of the Flash. The most commonly known version is Barry Allen, but there’s also Jay Garrick, from Flash Comics #1 (1940) by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert, Wally West, from The Flash #110 (1960) by John Broome and Carmine Infantino and Bart Allen, from Flash #92 (1994) by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo. And that’s not even mentioning alternate universe versions like Wallace West or Flashes from the future!
The point is, DC has options when it comes to the Flash. Instead of committing to this version, wait and see how audiences react to him first. If, for whatever reason, they don’t connect with the Barry Allen version, they can always introduce one of the other Flashes. Give him a couple of appearances first before locking a solo adventure down.
9. A QUESTION OF DIVERSITY
When it comes to diversity, the DC Extended Universe has actually made some pretty solid steps forward. With Wonder Woman (2017), they’ll release the first female led comic book movie from one of the major publishers. Suicide Squad (2016) starred Will Smith in a leading role, along with a fairly diverse cast of characters. Ezra Miller, the actor who plays the Flash, is the first actor to openly identify as queer to play a major super hero, which is awesome.
DC needs to keep this up. It’s great that an actor — Ezra Miller — who identifies as queer is going to play a major role in Justice League, and DC has an opportunity to bring more diversity to the screen. As far as most people are aware, the Flash is another white guy hero. DC can keep Miller’s Flash as a major part of its franchise while also bringing another diverse character up to the spotlight.
8. THE SNYDER-VERSE IS FAILING
It’s fair to say that Zack Snyder’s take on the DC Extended Universe hasn’t been universally loved by fans. In fact, his style and direction have been one of the biggest complaints about the franchise. That’s not to say that his movies are bad, or without fans. It’s just that his style doesn’t seem to be the best fit for the DC universe.
For WB to fully move past the Snyder era, they need to move past his versions of the characters. They need to focus on the rest of DC’s immense catalogue that haven’t had the controversial director’s touch. After Justice League (2017), the studio needs to move past the Snyder-verse, and even though Snyder isn’t attached to The Flash movie, it’s still his version of the character.
7. A CRISIS OF TONE
Suicide Squad (2016) was, despite the critical response, a pretty good movie that gave a different perspective by focusing on the villains. The major complaint about the movie, however, was that it felt disjointed. After the response to how overly dark Batman V Superman (2016) was, Warner Brothers allegedly felt that Suicide Squad needed scenes inserted that lightened things up and ordered reshoots.
This is another problem that DC needs to fix before starting new projects. Not every movie in the Extended Universe has to have the same tone, and there absolutely should be variety. Flash is a character who works when he’s being funny and hopeful, but his story can also be deeply dramatic, so WB needs to know exactly what direction it wants to take and how it fits with the rest of the slated projects before producers begin the project. Trying to “fix” things after the movie is shot doesn’t work.
6. NO REASON TO RUSH
In hindsight, movies like Fantastic Four (2016) seem like obviously bad ideas. A dark and gritty take on one of Marvel’s most family friendly comics which features almost no scenes of the team in action should have been an easy pass. Aside from the production issues, the entire concept of the movie seemed flawed, so why would Fox even make it?
Well, because of the contract they signed with Marvel, they had to put a movie into production by a certain point or they would lose the license. So, even if Fox knew that the concept was flawed, it still made sense to move ahead and try to salvage it. Warner Brothers, on the other hand, owns DC comics, so they don’t have to worry about losing the Flash license. There’s literally no time table, so if they don’t have a great concept, then there’s no risk in shelving it.
5. THE CAMEO
While Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) was met with mixed reactions, there was one thing almost everyone agreed on: the Flash cameo was super confusing. While Bruce Wayne waits for some information to decrypt, he falls asleep and has a nightmare about Superman taking over the world. He wakes up to a bright flash of light and suddenly, the Flash is standing in his cave offering a vague warning about Lois Lane and how Bruce should “fear him!”
It’s clear from this scene that WB has a specific plan for the Flash. Based on how universally panned this cameo was, however, it’s probably best to just forget it. Just chalk up this moment to Bruce having a bad dream and move on. The best way to show audiences that they’ve moved on is by keeping the star of the cameo out of the spotlight for a while.
4. A MAN WHO NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION
There are some characters who need a movie focused on them to explain just what exactly is going on with them. Wonder Woman (2017) doesn’t just tell the story of her adventures during World War I, it also sets up the island of Themyscira and the Amazons. Aquaman will most likely explore the underwater kingdom and Atlantis and Arthur Curry’s history. Both of these movies are needed for audiences to fully understand the characters.
Meanwhile, the Flash is a guy who lives in a city and has super powers. Sure, there are more details than that, but audiences don’t need them to understand and enjoy the character. Like Hawkeye, Black Widow and Bruce Banner in the Marvel movies, Flash can just show up and be awesome and steal scenes. If WB doesn’t have a great Flash movie ready, then it’s easy to just skip it and still use the character.
3. ALREADY TOO SLOW
Back when it was announced that Quicksilver would appear in both Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2015), fans were skeptical that Marvel and Fox could bring two different versions of the character to life. “Days of Future Past” introduced Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters), and included a truly amazing scene in which he speedily dispatches a room of armed guards.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver, however, ended up feeling redundant. That is a problem that the Flash shouldn’t have to deal with, but ultimately will. Even if WB adjusts his powers to make them more interesting, general audiences are going to see the Flash and potentially feel like they’ve already seen these powers brought to life. It’s not fair, considering he predates Quicksilver by several decades, but this is a problem that may keep viewers from getting too excited for a Flash movie.
2. THE CRUDUP PROBLEM
While Billy Crudup is still set to appear in The Flash in the role of Henry West, Barry’s father, rumors briefly circulated that he had dropped out. Considering that Billy Crudup is set to debut in Justice League (2017), this could have caused problems for the Flash movie.
Actors who have signed onto roles were expecting the film to begin production by a certain date, which isn’t happening. The longer it gets delayed, the more likely actors will drop out in order to pursue other work. Considering that many of these characters are meant to crossover into other entries in the DC Extended Universe, the possibility of continuity problems increases with every delay. WB should stop casting for The Flash and then using these actors to cameo in other properties, thereby committing them to a part they might not stick around for.
1. A REBOOT LOOMING
While the DC Extended Universe movies have so far been financially successful, they’ve also been met with widespread criticism. Man of Steel (2013), Batman V Superman (2016) and Suicide Squad (2016) were all hit by mostly negative reviews upon release, and while the audience reaction wasn’t much better. If the negative reactions continue, the box office returns are likely to start dropping, especially on properties involving less well-known characters. Considering how reboot-happy Hollywood is anyway, it’s likely Warner Brothers might just pull the plug and start from scratch.
This entry isn’t meant to trash the DC films, or even to suggest that a reboot is necessary. Instead, Warner Brothers should focus on what it already has in production and make sure those movies are as great as possible, just so they can get the franchise’s feet on the ground.
Do you think Warner and DC should stop The Flash flick, or should they keep on truckin’? Let us know in the comments!
The Flash will appear in Justice League, which hits theaters on November 17, 2017